By Andrew Hood
Quick Step rider Carlos Barredo might have been a little bit groggy before Monday’s start of the Tour of the Basque Country; he certainly had reason to be.
Barredo raced Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and barely had time to wipe down before he was being hustled away to the airport in Brussels for a flight to Spain, where a team car was waiting for him to shuttle him to the team hotel above San Sebástian.
The Spanish rider didn’t get to bed until 1:30 a.m. after what was a very long day.
“I’ve recovered pretty well from the effort of Sunday. The idea is to prepare myself here for the Ardennes classics, after that I can take a rest,” Barredo told El Dario Vasco. “I’ll try to make it through the first few days of the race and then see if I can get into a breakaway. It will be complicated, but at least I’ll try.”
Barredo, 26, is turning into cycling’s “everywhere man,” a rider capable of helping his captains win big races (Quick Step teammate Stijn Devolder won Sunday), go on the attack for stage wins (he was victorious in stage 5 at this year’s Paris-Nice) and ride well in grand tours (he was 10th in last year’s Vuelta a España).
“I don’t know if I will ever be able to dispute one of the grand tours because even though I can climb and time trial pretty well, I am not a specialist in either,” Barredo told VeloNews earlier this year. “My real passion is the classics. I’d love to win one of the big ones one day.”
His immediate future is trying to recuperate this week and hone his form for Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he’ll be riding for team captain Paolo Bettini.
Devolder’s big win Sunday was fresh on his mind going into the second half of the spring classics.
“Flanders has a special ambiance with the public. To race it with a team like Quick Step, with the quality of riders and the passion for the race, it’s tremendous,” he said. “It’s even better when your team wins. Sunday is going to be one of the best memories of my career as a racer. The truth is that it was very special.”
Barredo will finally take a break after Liège. He promises not to touch the bike for a week and then begin training for his next major goal. What else? The Tour de France with detours through the tours of Belgium and Switzerland beforehand.